Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Lost Continent of My Twenties


For my sister Honeylet who has been with me through every journey. Happy birthday my love.

They say time is what ultimately gives meaning to all things; that we only recognize the importance of something when we look back at it.

When I recently re-read some of my stories in this blog, I realized that I was looking at the disappearance of a whole continent I know I may never touch again - Gossip Girl Birthday Balls, Grand Canyon sunsets and Machu Picchu sunrises, adventures with my sister, red leggings and a harem - in short, the land of my self-absorbed twenties.

So raucous and full of joy, they strike me now as obsessed with loss and nostalgia and the One Big Love that never worked out but wouldn't go away, either.

That life is drifting away from me, an inch at a time. Work is now taking up more and more of my time, some friends have become distant, my sister is getting married in November.

Sometimes I wonder once she's become a wife and a mom, will she still have time for her brother? What about our dreams to explore unknown lands together and see the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Orient Express, the Byzantines churches.

Perhaps those dreams are gone.

While writing my stories, perhaps I was dimly aware that time is passing, that things will change. I didn't want to let go of my past; to forget, to become disengaged, to become disentangled.

I wanted to remember. I wanted to build a shrine to honor it, to give it a mark in my new land. I wanted to mythologize it. This, I think, is one of the great privileges of a writer; to create a myth out of a personal experience.

Some say it is best to burn the bridge and move on; to never look back. But I believe it takes more courage to go back and face our past, both the beautiful and ugly parts of it, and recognize it for what it really was. Perhaps for the very first time.

So without knowing it, I was building my shrine to the slowly vanishing continent of my twenties. Some of that terrain was as gorgeous as the Manila setting where most of them are based; full of shimmering curtains of rain and deeply rooted desires.

Much of it was dark and thick with blinding smog too; some almost impassable. But broken love and dreams deserve a shrine; even if its just a few words and scraps of memories.


Mac Callister said...

true,theres nothing wrong remembering our past...

and besides masarap balikan yun mga bagay bagay lalo yun nagpapangiti sa tin awwww!

rudeboy said...

It's interesting to refer to our various ages as continents, Kane. For in many ways, we traverse the geography of our lives with some very definite borders.

The future is always undiscovered country: therein lies its appeal, and its terror. It's but understandable that we look back at the Old Countries of our childhood and youth with nostalgia and longing.

But trudge through the undiscovered country we must, until we pass from this realm into the next. I know you've savored the flavors of each country you have passed. We can only hope that the undiscovered countries hold pleasant surprises in store, as well.

Jon said...

if our pasts are really meant to be forgotten, then no one should have coined the term 'history'. while memories remain a mock-time machine, we will always wake up, come to our senses to unborn days full of limitless possibilities.


Désolé Boy said...

That those who maintained a string attached to the past are fools no more, I thank you for that. You are right, Kane. To look back and face all those demons that once savaged you takes a great deal of courage the same way when you decided to move forward away from them.
Ahh, memories. An army of the good, the bad and the evil.

kmcaffee said...

You are so wise! It IS harder to look back and reflect but you grow and change from ALL the experiences in your life. It's good to embrace what once was and learn from it!!
PS: Your sister will change, but it sounds like you have an amazing bond - she'll never be too far from you! :)

Nate said...

hello kane!

first of all, happy birthday to your dear sister!!

then, i'd have to say that this one's nicely written. maybe because it is but natural for a human being to feel nostalgic.. a part of us would always want to look back on those tribulations & triumphs and sorrows & joys that we have experienced in order to realize that who we are today sums up the bits and pieces of our past..

thanks for the realization that moving on to a new "continent" doesn't mean letting go of the previous one; because it remains a part of who you are.. a part of you, enshrined, would be a constant reminder that you lived through life and will continue to savor both the bitterness & pleasures of life till its end..

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Happy birthday t your sister!

The present is always based on our past. It is just right that we should look on our past to see how far have we travelled.

Very good one!


eon said...

what you said struck a cord. I share the same sentiments, although it will be 3 years from now before I get to my 30's. and as writers it is a gift that we can relive our past by writing about them.

the green breaker said...

It could also contain prairies, mountains, deserts and rainforests which would best describe the vital portions of the continent. I guess most of your lost continent was a vast composition of meadows and valleys: that dreamlike state of pure carefree disposition that will always make us go on a trance when we get older.

In my current state, it seems like my continent is still the large land mass; I'm just awaiting for the great earthquake that will break it up in seven.

cjgruet said...

"But I believe it takes more courage to go back and face our past, both the beautiful and ugly parts of it, and recognize it for what it really was." Cheers to this, Karl!

Beautiful memories are more poignant precisely because we know they never come back. Except in the shrine of remembering.

Miss you, Karl.

Hunie said...

To my brother, thank you for this post.

No matter what happens next, i will be anything but grateful for every moment I've spent with you. The angkor wat, bangkok, halong bay, machu pichu and lake titicaca will always remain a memory of us two. I will never lose hope that one day, we can conquer egypt. Maybe, someday.

Your little sister

Gregg D'Bully said...

Putting it in metaphor, I call brushes with memories a kind of coming home.

citybuoy said...

It's good to look back every now and then. That way, we always know what we have gained and lost.

I don't think you should worry about losing that continent. It's not always a bad thing to be engulfed in work.

Or that's just me (?)

Spiral Prince said...

And this empowered me not to delete my blog.


R. Burnett Baker said...

You've lost nothing: You've gained a world. But as you age (gracefully) you will begin to recognize the importance of something before or as it happens! That's just part of the journey I suppose.

Twenties? Naw, no thanks! I'll look back and smile a bit, but I believe you will certainly relish the late 30's and all of the 40's. ( and hopefully beyond)

But those 40's: Truly fine! People take you seriously. YOU take you seriously. You have a history, and you have a long future!

Look forward, Kane, and be excited!!